Wednesday striker Lavery handed Northern Ireland call-up

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Michael O'Neill's side face Romania in a crucial Euro 2016 qualifier

Caolan Lavery has received a first call-up to the Northern Ireland squad for the friendly against Qatar and Euro 2016 qualifier with Romania.

The 22-year-old Sheffield Wednesday striker, who has played for the U21s, gets his chance after impressing for the Owls late in the season.

Ross County forward Liam Boyce and Cheltenham goalkeeper Trevor Carson return to the 28-player squad.

NI face Qatar on 31 May before the Belfast clash with Romania on 13 June.

The Qatar friendly will be played at Crewe Alexandra's Gresty Road ground, before a behind-closed-doors training game against the Republic of Ireland at the Aviva Stadium on 4 June.

Windsor Park will host the crucial qualifier against the Group F leaders despite damage to the West Stand, which will be demolished.

The Irish FA said all of the 10,000 capacity for the game would be met by accelerating work on the East Stand, South East Quadrant, and South Stand.

Northern Ireland's remaining Euro 2016 Group F qualifiers
Romania (home)Saturday, 13 June 2015
Faroe Islands (away)Friday, 4 September 2015
Hungary (home)Monday, 7 September 2015
Greece (home)Thursday, 8 October 2015
Finland (away)Sunday, 11 October 2015

Northern Ireland lie just a point behind the Romanians after an excellent start to the campaign and find themselves in a good position to potentially qualify for a major finals for the first time since the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.

Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill wanted Lavery to go on the South America tour last summer but he was unavailable because of a wedding.

Lavery recovered from a serious knee injury last season before going on a successful loan spell to Chesterfield in February.

He returned to Hillsborough and started Wednesday's final seven Championship matches.

"When you name a squad of 28 players, it' important that you have an eye on development and Caolan has made a breakthrough at club level in the Championship," said O'Neill.

"It's good to get him into the squad and have a look at him. Also, we have to consider his eligibility as he has a number of choices as to who he can play international football for.

"There is a need to get these young players into the squad and incorporate and develop them."

Goalkeepers: Roy Carroll (Notts County), Michael McGovern (Hamilton Academicals), Trevor Carson (Cheltenham Town)

Defenders: Aaron Hughes (Unattached), Chris Baird, Gareth McAuley (both West Bromwich Albion), Jonny Evans (Manchester United), Craig Cathcart (Watford), Shane Ferguson (Newcastle United), Daniel Lafferty (Burnley), Conor McLaughlin (Fleetwood Town), Luke McCullough (Doncaster Rovers), Paddy McNair (Manchester United)

Midfielders: Steve Davis (Southampton), Chris Brunt (West Bromwich Albion), Corry Evans (Blackburn Rovers), Oliver Norwood (Reading), Pat McCourt (Unattached), Ben Reeves (MK Dons), Stuart Dallas (Brentford)

Forwards: Kyle Lafferty (Norwich City), Josh Magennis (Kilmarnock), Billy McKay (Wigan Athletic), Will Grigg (Brentford), Niall McGinn (Aberdeen), Jamie Ward (Unattached), Liam Boyce (Ross County), Caolan Lavery (Sheffield Wednesday)

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